Videotape Digitizing

videotape preservation and digitizingArchives are faced with multiple challenges when storing and working with videotape.  Even when stored under ideal conditions, videotapes may only last a few decades.  If stored in less than ideal conditions, the degradation process can be greatly accelerated.  The problem is, unless you physically play the videotape, it is very difficult to know if any form of degradation is taking place.  Videotape doesn't give off a characteristic odor associated with degradation, as film often will (vinegar syndrome).  Unfortunately, the very act of playing a videotape suffering from hydrolysis or "binder shed" to check it can destroy it.

Another problem you are faced with is "format obsolescence".  Videotape formats have changed many times in the forty or so years that videotape has been heavily used on a wide-scale commercial basis.  Sometimes, the actual videotapes outlast the equipment needed to play it.  Try giving a two-inch videotape to most people and they wont even know what it is, much less how to play it.

Scene Savers professionals understand the challenges of videotape.  They are trained in what to look for and how to handle old videotapes.  In fact, many of our engineers and technicians have been working with these formats since their original introduction into the market.  It is this experience that is critical when dealing with these old formats.

We maintain videotape equipment to deal with the challenges of obsolescence, and to be able to professionally transfer older formats to your preferred format.

We are able to create the format of your  choice. Most archives are creating uncompressed digital files as their preservation master file, and MPEG 4 files (H.264) as their access files.  Whatever your requirements, Scene Savers can create a custom solution for your project.

What about videotape that is degrading?
2" quadruplex video transferScene Savers has specialized videotape cleaning systems for 1", 1/2" open reel, 3/4" U-Matic and all Beta formats. Cleaning to remove dust, dirt and loose oxide from the surface of the videotape helps improve playback quality and also improves the chances of playing back tapes that are starting to degrade.  For tapes that are showing signs of severe hydrolysis (sticky-shed), we have custom designed dehumidification systems, including both industrial ovens and cool, dry storage for handling different types of degradation challenges.  We evaluate all tapes on an individual basis to determine the best course of action when dealing with degraded tapes and will work closely with you every step of the way.

What about extinct or obsolete formats?
Scene Savers is able to handle the following videotape formats in-house:

  • 2" Quadruplex videotape (also known as 2-inch or Quad video)
  • 1" Type C
  • 1/2" EIAJ
  • 1/2" CV
  • 3/4" U-Matic
  • VHS / S-VHS
  • Betamax
  • Betacam / Betacam SP
  • Digital Betacam
  • MII
  • D-1
  • D-2
  • DV-Cam, DVC-Pro, Mini-DV (DV-25, DV-50)
  • HD-DV (DV-100)
  • Sony HD-Cam
  • Sony HD-Cam SR
  • HD-D5
  • Laser Disc
  • Video DVD
  • Redtm Camera files
professional videotape digitizing

videotape archival

Call Scene Savers today to discuss your requirements and how we can create a custom solution for you.